SEO Checklist: 6 easy things you should be doing

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Most of our SEO advice focuses on things that probably sound pretty intimidating to SEO rookies. We've suggested things like starting a blog, optimizing your landing page, and link building, but all of those things can take a lot of time and effort. In this post, I'm going to suggest a few things that are so easy that you won't have an excuse not to do them.

Rethink your "title" tags
I know that I mention this tip too often, but it's too important not to include it at the top of this list. The "title" tag is in the HTML of all your pages and it has a HUGE impact on SEO. Make sure you're using words that people are actually searching for. As an example, if you're a real estate agent in Ann Arbor, you might change the title of your main page from "Jane Doe Homepage" to "Ann Arbor Real Estate - Jane Doe". Whatever you do, make sure that each page has a different title.

Register your domain name for several years
There's a lot of spam on the internet, and search engines work really hard to make sure they don't link to any shady sites. One way you can signal to search engines that your website is not spam is by registering your domain for more than a year in advance. This tells search engines that you plan on being around for a while which helps your credibility. It only costs about $10/year, so even though it won't make a huge difference, I recommend extending your domain name registration by a year or two.

Set the alt attribute in your images
Search engines can't read your images. Instead, they look at the "alt" attribute in your HTML image tags. You can set this attribute to describe to Google what the image is of. Here's a very simple page explaining how to do this.

Meta Descriptions
This is another tip that I've mentioned before, but it's important. You can use the "meta" tag in your HTML to basically tell search engines how to describe your site on their results pages. I describe this in a little more detail in my post about improving your click through rate.

Put keywords in the text of the page
The title tag is the most important text for SEO purposes, but you still need to have real content in your page. Like I mentioned above, search engines can't read text in images, and they also can't understand websites made in Flash (at least not very well). That's why you need to make sure that all your pages have a reasonable amount of normal HTML text with the keywords that you want search engines to associate with your site.

Redirect your site to include "www"
Most websites behave exactly the same regardless of if there is a "www" in the URL. The problem is, isn't the same as to search engines. When you allow visitors to view either URL, that increases the chances that search engines are diluting your page's ranking in their algorithm across the two different sites. Your hosting provider should make it easy to automatically redirect all your non-www visitors to "" so that search engines will know that there is only one true version of your website.

As is always the case with SEO advice, these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of simple things you can do to improve your site's SEO, but the most important thing is that you get started.

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